Fraud is a deception made for personal gain. It is an umbrella term for a variety of types of criminal acts such as forgery, insurance fraud, and social security fraud.

Unfortunately, the penalties imposed for convictions for fraud crimes can be severe, including imprisonment, fines, and probation. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and any potential defenses that might apply to you.

Utah Fraud Lawyer

If you have been arrested for fraud, qualified criminal defense attorney Susanne Gustin at Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law can diligently represent you. She has 30 years of experience in criminal law and can prepare a strong defense for your case. Fraud carries stiff penalties so it is best to consult with Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law as soon as possible.

To schedule an initial consultation, call (801) 243-2814 today. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law accepts fraud cases in Salt Lake County, UT, Weber County, Utah County, Wasatch County, Summit County, Morgan County, Davis County, Cache County, Tooele County, and Box Elder County.

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Under Utah law, it is considered fraud to forge or produce a false identification. To be guilty of forgery in Utah, a person must purposely defraud or facilitate someone in committing fraud by altering someone’s name or signing someone’s name without their permission. For example, if someone signs a check with their neighbor’s name without permission, that is a forgery. Additionally, it is considered forgery even if the individual signs their own name if it is on an instrument that they did not have permission to sign.

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Insurance Fraud

In Utah, insurance fraud consists of making false statements or providing false information that is material to the application for the issuance of insurance or the distribution of an insurance claim. For example, if someone lies about their health to obtain life insurance, that is considered insurance fraud and can result in serious penalties. Additionally, it is a crime to lie to get an insurance benefit paid out. For example, if someone crashed their car and claimed it was hit while they were sleeping, that would be considered insurance fraud because they are lying so that a benefit may be paid out and not affect their insurance cost.

To be charged with insurance fraud, you do not have to lie. Instead, you could accept proceeds you know you are not entitled to. For example, if someone passes away and an insurance company sends you a death benefit payout that you are not entitled to, keeping and spending the money is considered insurance fraud.

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Social Security Fraud

Social security fraud is a federal crime because it involves taking money from or making false statements to the federal government. The most common type of social security fraud is someone gaining access to another person’s social security number and exploiting it for financial gain. However, it can also occur by someone making false statements to obtain social security when they are not entitled to it. Another unfortunate way that social security fraud occurs is by failing to notify the Social Security Administration of the death of a family member who was receiving benefits and continuing to accept and use the deceased family members’ social security benefits.

However, the Social Security Administration is more understanding considering failing to notify them of a family member’s death. If this has happened, do not spend the social security benefits received after the family member’s death. Instead, notify the Administration as soon as possible and be prepared to refund the money received.

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What Are The Penalties For Fraud?

Generally, the fraud penalty depends on the value of the property stolen; however, in some cases, that is not always true. For example, social security fraud is considered a federal offense that may result in up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

For state penalties, the punishment is more closely tied to the value of the property and can result in the following:

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud is generally a felony unless the value of the property taken was less than $1,500, in which case it is a class A misdemeanor. Conviction of a class A misdemeanor will result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. On the other hand, if the value is more than $1,500 but less than $5,000, then it will be a third-degree felony resulting in up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000, or if the value is over $5,000, the felony will be in the second degree. A second-degree felony will result in up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


Forgery is a third-degree felony that will almost always result in between one to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000 unless there are mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances may result in a probationary period that allows the perpetrator to avoid prison.

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What Are The Defenses To Fraud?

There are a variety of defenses that may be available to an individual being charged with fraud, including but not limited to:

  • Statute of limitations
  • Lack of intent
  • Lack of evidence
  • Duress


In some situations, if a person commits fraud because they are under duress, the case may be dismissed, or the charge may be reduced. Duress occurs when someone believes their life or someone they love is in danger if they do not commit the crime. For example, if someone threatens to kill a family member and there is a reasonable belief that they can and will follow through with the threat if a check is not forged, there may be a valid defense for duress.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations requires that prosecution begins within a specific timeframe. For example, with fraud, if the prosecution does not begin within three years of the incident or when the incident should have been known, there is a valid defense that the case should be dismissed because the statute of limitations has run.

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Additional Resources

Office of Inspector General: Social Security – This website provides information on social security fraud and allows individuals to report incidents of social security fraud.

Department of Workforce Services – This website provides more information on fraud that may occur within Utah and how to report such incidents.

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Utah Fraud Attorney | Salt Lake County, UT

If you were charged with fraud in Salt Lake County, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Fraud crimes carry severe penalties including incarceration and steep fines. Don’t jeopardize your life by tackling this legal challenge alone. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law can advocate aggressively on your behalf.

Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law accepts clients in Utah including Salt Lake County, Alta, Mount Olympus, Cottonwood West, East Millcreek, Herriman, East Layton, West Bountiful, Fruit Heights, Cottonwood Heights, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, and South Jordan. Call (801) 243-2814 to schedule an initial consultation today.

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